Alternative splicing is required for RCT1-mediated disease resistance in Medicago truncatula

Fang Tang, Shengming Yang, Muqiang Gao, Hongyan Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


RCT1 is a TIR-NBS-LRR-type resistance (R) gene in Medicago truncatula that confers resistance to multiple races of Colletotrichum trifolii, a hemi-biotrophic fungal pathogen that causes anthracnose disease in Medicago and other closely related legumes. RCT1 undergoes alternative splicing at both coding and 3′-untranslated regions, thereby producing multiple transcript variants in its expression profile. Alternative splicing of RCT1 in the coding region results from the retention of intron 4. Because intron 4 lies downstream of the LRR-encoding exons and contains an in-frame stop codon, the alternative transcript is predicted to encode a truncated protein consisting of the entire portion of the TIR, NBS, and LRR domains but lacks the C-terminal domain of the full-length RCT1 protein encoded by the regular transcript. Here we provide evidence that the RCT1-mediated disease resistance requires the combined presence of the regular and alternative transcripts. Neither the regular nor the alternative RCT1 transcript alone is sufficient to confer resistance against the pathogen. This study, in addition to the reports on the tobacco N and Arabidopsis RPS4 genes, adds another significant example showing the involvement of alternative splicing in R gene-mediated plant immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-374
Number of pages8
JournalPlant Molecular Biology
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Jul 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This work was supported by United States Department of Agriculture-National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program Grants 2005-35301-15697 and 2005-35300-15461 (to


  • Alternative splicing
  • Disease resistance
  • Medicago
  • RCT1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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